How should I/you treat people?

Picture credit: Peasant Wedding
Pieter Bruegel the Elder 1566-1569

Initially, I wanted to write a post about how should I treat young people. I am not old but as I get old, I start to meet more young people. Hence, I need a good approach to talk to and learn from young people. This is perhaps not a legitimate way, after all, shouldn’t I treat people the same way, regardless of their age? Besides, I also don’t know people’s age when I first met them. I should show consistency in the way I deal with people.

Friends are an important source of happiness and fulfillment for a well-lived life. Hence, my goal is to have as many friends as possible as opposed to as many connections as possible.

So, now in this post my focus is my way of living with other people.

Keyword one: long-term

Treat every relationship as a long term one. Play a long term game pays off. Even if I am only meeting him for the first time, I should treat him as if we will meet again many times in the future and we will become good friends and we will collaborate on certain world-changing tasks.

Based on this principle, what can I do?

  • Introduce myself voluntarily; tell people my feelings and my background and my interests before they ask and then,
  • Listen to the other person, try to understand his ideas and background and interests as much as possible.
  • Do not ask his age, and treat him as the same age as I am; try to be a friend instead of a young people or a senior to a youngster
  • Make the transition as soon as possible; move from a formal social setting to a friendly one; for example, in toastmasters, I often meet new people. I should first treat them with respect and in a formal way. But soon, I should send a positive and proactive signal to move the relationship from a formal one to friendship. I should propose something, show some of my vulnerability first.
  • Don’t be afraid of rejection. People have good will and they will feel that they owe you something when they reject your offer or invitation.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking as well. When people help, they feel happy and you get what you want. Then real relationship will emerge as he will naturally ask you for help. Even if he rejects your request, don’t be ashamed to ask again. In fact, this time you are more likely to get it.

Keyword two: truth

I should tell the truth of my idea about this person and I should also seek their candid impression they have on me.

Tell the truth. I met a boy two days ago and he asked me how old I think he is. I was hesitant in giving my answer. I think what I should do is to give my answer straight away without worrying about offending people. I shouldn’t deliberately lower or higher my perception of their age. If the guy looks 40, tell him that I think he looks 40.

Truth also implies integrity. I shouldn’t lie to my friends nor should I ask them to lie for me. In 2019 winter, I had a course with a friend together. He was committed to the course and understood the course content. But I had no clue. I teamed up with him as a group in assignment. I think I did the right thing when I decided to dismiss our group. I said I no longer want to free ride. I failed that course and didn’t earn the six university credits. But my integrity won me a lifelong friend.

Keyword three: equality

I will meet many people of different background, social status and level of wealth. I will meet people who look good and look not that good. I will meet authors, CEO, billionaires (I hope), barbers, cleaning lady, drivers and strangers with no identity. I will meet old people and young people, beautiful lady and ugly ones. Of course I tend to like talking to the beautiful one, the wise one, the rich one and the superior one. Yet I should treat everyone I meet equally. This is a virtue and also practically beneficial.

I find it hard to treat the ugly with respect. I tend to neglect the ugly girls and ladies. I am drawn to beautiful ones and am often intimidated by them that I wouldn’t dare to talk to them. There are girls that are apparently out of my league and I normally choose to not to talk to them and sooth myself with the idea that those people love appearance more than the inner heart. I am not in their club. I knew this attitude is wrong. I should dare to treat everyone equally.

Keyword four: kindness

I only stayed with Krai for two nights but we became really good friends. And I take Krai as a trustworthy friend for life. What he did was simply being kind. He always smiles, he shares his stories, his emotions, his dreams. He offered me his bed and food and even helped me do laundry. He took another girl and me to places that he has been hundreds of times.

All I can remember of him now is his smile and kindness.

I should be kind as well. Offer help in a genuine way and share with people what I think and my vulnerabilities. Kindness is contagious. People reciprocate kindness with even greater kindness.

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